A movement is growing to make it easier to identify Black businesses when people are shopping or seeking services online.
Following the lead of Yelp! And UberEats (as reported by The Community Voice in June), Google is identifying Black-owned businesses in its maps and search listings, and a group called Verify Black is drumming up support for social media companies to do likewise.
U.S.-based companies with a verified Business Profile on Google can now add a Black-owned badge to their profile to make it easier for customers to identify and support them. The badge is a black heart over an orange three-striped background. To apply, entrepreneurs must verify their company by mail, phone, or email.
“Over the past few months, we’ve seen a surge in online searches for Black-owned businesses,” wrote Jewel Burks Solomon, the Head of Google for Startups, in a blog post.
Google partnered with the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) to help spread the word about the new badges. Together, Google and USBC will also provide Black business owners with training to maximize their online presence on Google through the use of Google My Business and Google Analytics.
The brainchild of artist Fred Foster and attorney Vivian Duker, Verify Black is an economic justice initiative born out of a recognition that the growth of Black-owned businesses directly impacts income growth for Black communities.
Verify Black is asking social media platforms to implement a special verification process and symbol for Black-owned businesses. The Black Check would make Black-owned businesses easier to identify across social media platforms, providing them with heightened visibility.
“We are also asking social media platforms to catalog these businesses in a way that makes them easier to find,” said co-founder Duker, a corporate attorney in Baltimore. That way, we can leverage the existing data of Black-owned businesses that already use social media as a marketing tool to make them more accessible to the customers who want to patronize them.”
“Recently, Target created an online badge to identify Black owned brands on it’s site. Our company is pushing for platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to get on board next. To make this happen, we need your help.”
You can support Verify Black by signing the petition at verifyblack.org. The group’s founders are seeking community input and support before officially approaching social media platforms. Once they have gathered 50,000 signatures of support, they will reach out officially to the big social media companies.
Steps you can take:
• Sign and share the petition at verifyblack.org
• Repost video on your social media: http://ow.ly/LdSs50AR288, hashtagging #verifyblack
• Share as an editorial or feature on your social media.